- Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:43 am
The surf, with all the bars and guts, is such a great and easily accessible structure. It doesn’t require anything fancy or expensive, no boats necessary, just some cheap wading shoes, a rod and reel and a favorite plug, lure or whatever. I’ve waded barefoot, but there’s enough junk around I usually like something more on my feet. I wade in Crocs, they do float should one pop off, most of the time, plus a swimsuit, occasionally long fishing pants should there be something stinging, fishing shirt, a pair of long nosed pliers and that’s about it. I walk in fish that I might want to keep and put them on ice. I’d soon not think about fish on stringers or in those bags, with the amount of sharks that are almost always present. I keep a towel or two handy in the truck and sometimes a change of clothes. Once I’ve gotten wet, I sit on the giant plastic trash bags over the seat covered with a towel riding from spot to spot. You will mess up your truck seat letting saltwater drip into it.
I’ve confined my surf fishing, the drive up type, to Surfside or the next beach down, Quintana/Bryan beaches. I have waded the beach below the Mouth of the Brazos and above the San Bernard, but that’s currently only accessible by boat or kayak unless The San Bernard and Cedar lake Cut are both filled in.
The guts and structure do tend to change daily and with the up and down of the water levels and wave angles, current changing tide after tide. As you probably already know, there’s the gut, bar, gut, bar structure that repeats. It is amazing how un-uniform those can be moving up and down the beach, at least this is true at Surfside and even more so on Quintana/Bryan. In my experience, the fish will be concentrated on some aspect of the bar, gut, bar structure, but it’s going to vary day to day and even over the course of a morning wade.
Often, the fish will be tight to the beach at first light right in the first gut and maybe even the beachside part of the gut. They might shift to being over the bar and the edges of that either on the first gut side or into the second gut as the sun angles change.
The first gut can be chest deep in places or almost none existent, depending on where and how the waves have reworked the sand. A thigh to waist deep first gut is often what I like put together with the first bar off the beach being shin/knee deep. Again, this is what I’ve observed at the beaches I’ve fished, Galveston might be a whole other ball of wax.
I’m always looking for bait sign and it can be tough to tease out in a high energy surf zone. When I find the sign, I cast into that zone. But if I’m not really seeing anything that catches my eye with the bait, I’ll fish different parts of the structure until I find fish or give up and move on down the beach looking for something better.
If I can’t make it happen in the first or second gut or the bar that separates those, I’m generally out. It doesn’t mean there aren’t fish out around the next bar or gut, I’m just not going to swim out there 9 times out of ten.
There’s some buoy data that I look at before heading out, but if your staying at the beach that cuts out the need for the buoy reports. Most of the buoys are down, offline for whatever reason, off Freeport and Galveston currently. Generally, I’m looking at 2 foot waves and under before I even consider a wade. 1, 1.3 is about ideal. Zero waves, maybe not so much. I’ve waded up to about 2.6 feet, but it cuts down where you can go and there are generally more pleasant and or productive places landward to fish when the surf gets cranking. Soaking bait with big rods is a different story and can be done without taking a beating in rougher surf.